Cecil Newton Tried to Take Money, But Cam Newton is Eligible to Play

Auburn Tigers nation can breathe easy — for now.  Their Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback has been declared eligible by the NCAA.  On Monday, the NCAA concluded that a violation of amateurism rules had occurred and, consistent with the protocol of such an investigation, Cam Newton was briefly deemed ineligible.  At that point, the university can request that the athlete be reinstated.  If it is determined that the athlete was not directly involved, he or she can be reinstated while the investigation continues, as was the case with Newton.

While Cam Newton’s name is “clear” at the moment, the NCAA discovered what we already suspected and were confident in — that his father, Cecil Newton, worked with the owner of a scouting service to market and sell his son’s talents.  SEC Commissioner Mike Silve spoke out against the conduct of Cam Newton’s father and the individual from the scouting service, saying it is “unacceptable” and “will not be tolerated in the SEC.”

On to the important part.  It comes in the form of comments from Kevin Lennon, the NCAA’s vice president for academic and membership affairs:

In determining how a violation impacts a student-athlete’s eligibility, we must consider the young person’s responsibility. Based on the information available to the reinstatement staff at this time, we do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity, which led to his reinstatement.”

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Donald Trump Tells Miami President to Hire Mike Leach

Three years ago, Donald Trump expressed his discontent with Miami University president Donna Shalala for hiring Randy Shannon and not Mike Leach to coach the Hurricanes.  Shannon certainly didn’t work out, and now Shalala is responsible for hiring another head coach.  While many reports indicate Jon Gruden will be the heir to the U throne, Trump continues to lobby for his buddy, Leach.  Check out this note he sent Shalala in typical Trump fashion:

For those of you who have normal eyes and can’t read that, here’s what the note says:

Donna, you made a big mistake when you did not take my advice and hire Mike Leach of Texas Tech — look what’s happened to them since he left [something no one can seem to read] — Hire Coach Leach and you will be number one. Best wishes, Donald — And you can get him for the right price. Best wishes, Donald.”

Keep in mind that as of Tuesday night College Football Talk was reporting that Jon Gruden will be the next Hurricanes coach, “barring a last-minute glitch.”  Hopefully it works out.  I’d hate to be Shalala and have to decipher one of these obnoxious notes again if it doesn’t.

Chip Kelly Could Make $4.3 Million With an Oregon Win This Weekend

The Oregon Ducks are one win away from a guaranteed trip to the BCS national title game.  With a win over Oregon State this Saturday, the Ducks would run their record to 12-0 and remain atop the BCS polls.  The stakes can’t be raised any higher than that.  Or can they?

For Chip Kelly, they certainly can.  After a review of Kelly’s current contract with Oregon, USA Today determined that the Ducks’ game this weekend is valued at around $4.3 million for their head coach.  Kelly’s contract includes a provision that tacks another year onto his contract if Oregon wins at least 12 games in the 2010 season or qualifies for the BCS title game.  A win over Oregon State would assure both and give Kelly an extra year on his contract worth $4 million, taking him into the 2016-2017 season.

Like almost all other coaches in the NCAA, Kelly also would receive a bonus if Oregon were to go on and win the national championship.  That would pay him an additional $200,000 along with adding a year to his deal.  And that’s not all.  Kelly also earns $285,000 every time one of his teams wins 12 “regular season” games, so he would get his hands on that cash with a win this weekend as well.

No pressure.

BCS Bowl System Is a Load of B.S.

Isn’t the holiday season grand? People slipping in and out of a gravy-induced coma, gathering around the television to watch the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys try to figure out the rules of football, and the annual exchange of gift receipts. That just leaves time to harp on the process of sending college teams to prestigious bowl games. The succinctly titled B-C-S. The mere mention of the three-lettered acronym nearly had President Obama dispatching the National Guard to Bill Hancock’s house. The controversy stirs up more vitriol than an old ladies’ pinochle showdown. Give me a ‘B’!

It seems like every year around this time, the same old debate is stirred up in towns whose major attractions are a Walmart and “The World’s Largest (something).” A Senator from Utah was so miffed that he threatened an anti-trust lawsuit against the Behemoth-CS. Well, you better batten down the Orrin Hatch, because here we go again. People in Eugene, Auburn, and Fort Worth wait with baited breath since, let’s face it, there really isn’t much else to do in those places.

There was a time when the Rose Bowl stood as college football’s version of winning the Publisher’s Clearing House (without having to subscribe to all those crummy magazines). Collegians played off for the right to go to Pasadena or there would be no postseason. But, then came the Orange and Sugar Bowls helping to feed the carb-crazed college football scene, with the Cotton Bowl soon after. Some 75 years later, the Granddaddy has had so many illegitimate children he’s beginning to make Shawn Kemp look like Father of the Year. Every corporate entity is represented in this bastion of amateurism (that’s what they tell us, at least). There is something called a Beef O’Brady’s Bowl (just sounds fattening), an Insight Bowl (which ironically provides no insight into entertainment), a Liberty Bowl (played in the city that gave birth to freedom… Memphis, Tennessee?), and there’s a bowl that’s a message, The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (a Pac-10, WAC matchup will accomplish this by causing one to lose their appetite).

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TCU Joins BCS Automatic Qualifier Big East But Not Defined by BCS?

You may still be getting used to the idea of a school from Fort Worth, Texas being part of a Big East of anything as am I. That’s right, Texas Christian University will now join the likes of UConn (from Connecticut), Pitt (from Pennsylvania), Providence (from Rhode Island), and Syracuse (from New York) in the same conference. Nevermind the idea of geographical differences between TCU and everyone else, what I don’t understand is the comments from athletic director Chris Del Conte.

At one point during his speech made on Monday, Del Conte said “Having BCS automatic-qualifying status was a priority for our football program and a great reward for the success we’ve had the last decade.” At another point Del Conte mentioned that “The BCS does not define TCU. TCU defines the BCS as evidenced by our football program but the academic institutions that we’re going to be associated with.”

Got it? So this move was done so that TCU could be more appropriately aligned with academic institutions on its level. You know, those notable bastions of academia like Louisville and West Virginia. So if TCU is moving its school and all its sports teams to the Big East, all so the football team becomes a part of an automatic qualifier conference, then how is the school not defined by the BCS? Someone ‘splain that to me, because we see right through you, Del Conte.

Report: Jon Gruden to Coach Miami Hurricanes Football

It’s been almost two years since Jon Gruden was fired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following a 9-7 season in 2008. Not long after the surprising move was made by the Bucs, Gruden was hired by ESPN to provide commentary on Monday Night Football. He’s spent his time speaking glowingly about players, slipping secret handshakes while waiting for the right coaching opportunity to come along.

Chucky reportedly talked with the Cowboys after Wade Phillips was let go, but nothing serious happened. Apparently he has been interested in the Miami job since Larry Coker was fired, and now numerous people are reporting that Jon Gruden will be the next coach of the Canes.

Lake Lewis Jr. reported on twitter that Gruden will be the next Miami coach for the price of about $3 million per season. Compensation issues seemed to be the difference between the sides — Gruden could easily command around $4 million per season in the NFL and reportedly did not want to take a paycut to coach at Miami. $3 million per season seems like a cut, but it would also make him extremely well paid as a college coach.

Gruden has always crossed me as an excellent coach. He took Oakland’s passing game to astronomical levels and turned Rich Gannon into a Pro Bowler and MVP (Gannon won MVP in Gruden’s first year at TB). He won the Super Bowl his first year at Tampa Bay, and won the NFC South two other times. Despite the lack of quarterback consistency, Gruden seemed to always have the Bucs competitive. He made the most of Brad Johnson, Chris Simms, Brian Griese, Bruce Gradkowski, and Jeff Garcia — not exactly a collection of franchise quarterbacks.

OPINION: Miami is “not a marquee program

If Gruden has indeed accepted the job at Miami, the big question is how he’ll fit in as a college coach. He coached in the pros from 1992-2008 and hasn’t dealt with recruiting and boosters for two decades. He has a huge name and an outstanding offensive reputation, so drawing local playmakers to The U should not be a problem. If you want to know what the real problem might be, read this.

Over 9,000 Boise State Fans Supporting Kyle Brotzman in Facebook Group

My old colleague at Sporting News Radio, Tim Brando, used to say that the best thing about college football is the fans, and the worst thing about college football is also the fans. Never has there been a better example of that maxim than the treatment of Kyle Brotzman.

Brotzman is Boise State’s kicker who missed a short field goal at the end of regulation at Nevada and another field goal in overtime that helped result in Boise State’s only loss of the season. The missed field goals weren’t Boise State’s only mistakes in the game, but they were the most prominent and high profile, and they played a major role in the Broncos missing out on a chance to reach the National Championship Game. While I thought Brotzman would become the loneliest person in Idaho, the Broncos fans have shocked me with their outstanding display of community and support.

In a matter of a day, over 9,000 people joined “The Bronco Nation Loves Kyle Brotzman” Facebook Group. The page has been filled with positive comments from fans who all want Brotzman to feel their support. This is quite the divergence from the typical treatment of kickers who have cost their teams with missed kicks. Here’s what it says in the group’s description:

“Boise State’s Kyle Brotzman is the all-time leading scorer for Bronco Football. A walk-on in 2006 and a local Idaho boy from Meridian High School, Kyle has been a key part of the Broncos’ success during an incredible four-year run. In the 2010 Fiesta Bowl, Kyle was at the center of the most memorable play, “The Riddler,” in which he took a snap on a fake punt on 4th down and threw a pass to Kyle Efaw, setting up the touchdown that would win the game for the Broncos.

True Bronco fans love Kyle and appreciate all that he has brought to this incredible team and program. Thanks, Kyle. We can’t wait to cheer for you and your team in your final two games. GO BRONCOS !!!”

That is a model display of support and understanding that I really did not expect to see. Hopefully this will help Broztman get past the difficult time in his life where his self-esteem is undoubtedly low. And you know what, I now hold Boise State fans in the highest regard. I already knew they were fervent supporters of the team, but now I know they place compassion above winning in their value system. They have it right.

UPDATE: Over 20,000 people have joined the group as of 2:00pm PT 11/29/10